Seattle-Area Author Talks About “The Children’s Blizzard”

BEATRICE – It’s not that weather forecasters got it wrong.  It’s just that the message couldn’t be communicated fast enough, during the so-called Children’s Blizzard of January 12th, 1888.

The storm event across the plains, hitting during the dismissal of the country school day, took the lives of many, including children.

Author David Laskin, of Seattle talked about the event described in his book, during a presentation at the Homestead National Monument of America, Sunday.  The book tells the story of the ferocious storm through accounts from about a half-dozen families.

:30                  “unbelievable hardships”

In researching information for the book, Laskin said he tried a basic, low-cost way of searching out the stories about the blizzard.  He took out classified ads in several local newspapers in Nebraska and South Dakota, for a couple hundred dollars.

:36                  “kind of detail”

Laskin said the blizzard was so severe, it blew in ice pellets that froze the eyelids shut and visibility was zero.   The storm occurred on what started to be an unseasonably warm day, but then a massive cold air system from Canada met with warm air from the Gulf of Mexico.

Laskin said, “it came down to freezing where you were, or seeking shelter somewhere”.  Laskin’s presentation was part of this week’s activities during a country school association conference, being held in Beatrice. (at SCC)

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